Taxibots, AutoVots To Replace Conventional Cars One Day.
“Don’t expect driverless cars breakthrough. Infrastructure, policy, insurance won’t be ready for that for the next few years”
“Taxibots” and “AutoVots” will patrol the streets when self-driving, autonomous cars are all the rage after about 2025, and this will make most conventional cars redundant, according to a report from the Paris-based OECD’s International Transport Forum (ITF).
“A fleet of self-driving, shared cars could make 90 per cent of conventional cars in mid-sized cities superfluous. Even during peak hours, only one third of the current number of cars would be needed to provide the same number of trips as today,” the report said.
ITF researchers modelled two concepts – the “TaxiBot”, a self driving vehicle shared simultaneously by several passengers sharing rides, and “AutoVots”, which pick-up and drop-off single passengers sequentially.
Another bonus of driverless, computer-driven cars, will be a return of empty side streets. The streets will be free of parking simply because nobody will actually own a car any more. They will simply rent when the need arises.
“The need for on-street parking spots could be totally removed with a fleet of share self-driving cars in all scenarios, allowing the reallocation of (a huge amount of road space) to other uses,” the report said.
According to ITF spokesman Michael Kloth, the time scale for the report was set at least 10 years from now, and sought to identify issues arising from driver-less cars.
London-based consultancy Frost & Sullivan expects self-driving to become mainstream on motorways by 2020, with driver-less trucks appearing towards 2022. This follows on from the current increasing adoption in modern cars of technological aids to make driving safer with vehicle to vehicle, and vehicle to infrastructure communications, and things like lane departure warning, blind spot detection and automated parking.
“All these advanced driver assistance features are paving the way for fully automated cars of the future, where the driver will be present in the car to take on the control only when required. Don’t expect driverless cars to experience a breakthrough market entry, as infrastructure, policy, insurance and ultimately the end user won’t be ready for that for the next few years,” said Frost & Sullivan in a report.
It isn’t clear yet which companies will lead this revolution, said Murali Nadarajah, CEO of technology services company Xchanging of Malaysia.
“The driverless car will more likely be pioneered either by traditional car manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes, Ford, Toyota, etc., or by well-funded upstarts like Google or Tesla,” Nadarajah said.
Nadarajah said German companies are leading the race for a launch ready vehicle, but the country’s infrastructure is behind that of the U.S..
Frost & Sullivan said Google and Apple could undermine traditional car makers.
“Self-driving cars will bring with them a new concept on how we use, and eventually buy cars, as self-driving vehicles are the ideal platform to build new business models, relating to the sharing economy and the concept of mobility on-demand. This may eventually result in a threat for mass-makers,” said Frost and Sullivan analyst Pietro Boggia.
ITF’s Kloth said this need not necessarily be so.
“As for the mass car makers, this could bite into their market, as less cars are needed. On the other hand, the TaxiBots need to be replaced at much shorter intervals because they are used so much more intensively. So manufacturers might not lose as much as one might be initially tempted to think – if they get into the TaxiBot market, that is, and don’t leave it to Google,” Kloth said.